Nuance's Nina to enable iOS apps to authenticate users by the sound of their voice

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The somewhat tedious process of logging into applications on Apple's iOS devices using the on-screen keyboard may soon become a thing of the past thanks to a new software platform from Nuance that promises to allow app makers to authenticate a user by the sound of their voice and much, much more.

The voice technology firm behind the Dragon Naturally Speaking line of voice applications for personal computers and the Dragon Dictation software built into iPhones on Monday announced Nina -- a virtual assistant for mobile customer service apps the will allow companies to quickly add speech-based virtual assistant capabilities to their existing iOS and Android apps.

Expanding beyond the basic capabilities of the Siri personal assistant found in the current version of iOS, Nina bills itself as the first virtual assistant to incorporate both speech recognition and voice biometrics into a single integrated solution. And unlike Siri, which is presently compatible only with Apple's own iOS apps, it will be made available to all developers through an open software developer kit (SDK).

It works by combining Nuance speech recognition, Text-to-Speech (TTS), voice biometrics, and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology into a single cloud-based service that not only understands what is said, but also can identify who is saying it.

The company is targeting the platform at customer service companies like banks and insurance agencies, whose applications can be updated to allow customers to log into their accounts, transfer funds, pay bills, reschedule flights and so forth using only spoken commands. It even promises to allow these companies to tailor their own "virtual assistant persona," including the visual appearance and implementation of custom TTS voices.




A demo video showing Nina in action


The USAA, a leading financial services provider that serves members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families, will be the first to adopt the virtual assistant for use within its popular mobile app beginning with a pilot planned for release sometime this month. It will be followed by a formal launch to all USAA members early next year.




Some additional examples showing Nina in action


Nuance says that Nina is currently available to developers in the US, UK, and Australia (English), with support for additional languages scheduled for later this year. iOS and Android app developers seeking additional details on the technology can turn to Nuance's Nina page for more information.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37


    My voice is my password!

  • Reply 2 of 37
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 225member


    In place of more cloud options I'd rather see more on-device options for speech to text/code. Most people don't have a network connection all the time.

  • Reply 3 of 37
    enjournienjourni Posts: 254member


    "Noah Voson"


     


    There. I just got access to all your data image


     


    Edit: since nobody seemed to get this reference (shame on you!), it's from Bourne Ultimatum.

  • Reply 4 of 37
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    Does it work on iPhone 4?

  • Reply 5 of 37

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The somewhat tedious process of logging into applications on Apple's iOS devices using the on-screen keyboard may soon become a thing of the past thanks to a new software platform from Nuance that promises to allow app makers to authenticate a user by the sound of their voice and much, much more….

    Nuance says that Nina is currently available to developers in the US, UK, and Australia (English), with support for additional languages scheduled for later this year. iOS and Android app developers seeking additional details on the technology can turn to Nuance's Nina page for more information.


    Makes me wonder what the price tag for Dragon (Nuance et al) would be. They have been in this game for quite a while -- think its is probably still held (majority anyway) by the original Chinese group + VC so it might be pricey. Gotta wonder if this wouldn't be a better technology to be selling licenses for the use of than vice-versa (although their patents may be getting a little long in the tooth - I remember seeing a demo in a private suite at MacWorld 1989 or 90.)

  • Reply 6 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,444member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Does it work on iPhone 4?



    Can't imagine it wouldn't. It's being targeted for customer service apps like banking, investment and insurance on both iOS and Android platforms.


    http://www.nuance.com/ucmct/groups/enterprise/@web-enus/documents/collateral/nc_025294.pdf

  • Reply 7 of 37
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member


    "Siri, do you think Nina has a big butt?"

  • Reply 8 of 37
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Can't imagine it wouldn't. It's being targeted for customer service apps like banking, investment and insurance on both iOS and Android platforms.


    http://www.nuance.com/ucmct/groups/enterprise/@web-enus/documents/collateral/nc_025294.pdf



    Just that Apple made a big deal of Siri only working on 4S. At least if it does work on iPhone 4 it won't be replicating core functionality of the device but I can't see how it doesn't violate that stipulation on the 4S or the upcoming model whatever it is called.

  • Reply 9 of 37
    neo42neo42 Posts: 287member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Magicite View Post


    My voice is my password!



     


    This is the first thing I thought of too, LOL

  • Reply 10 of 37
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


    Makes me wonder what the price tag for Dragon (Nuance et al) would be. They have been in this game for quite a while -- think its is probably still held (majority anyway) by the original Chinese group + VC so it might be pricey. Gotta wonder if this wouldn't be a better technology to be selling licenses for the use of than vice-versa (although their patents may be getting a little long in the tooth - I remember seeing a demo in a private suite at MacWorld 1989 or 90.)



    http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:NUAN


     


    Market cap $6.85B 










     
  • Reply 11 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,444member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Just that Apple made a big deal of Siri only working on 4S. At least if it does work on iPhone 4 it won't be replicating core functionality of the device but I can't see how it doesn't violate that stipulation on the 4S or the upcoming model whatever it is called.



    Gotcha. Maybe it would violate Apple's TOS. Someone a lot more knowledgeable than me would have to take a crack at that one.

  • Reply 12 of 37


    This should be a boon for developers.


     


    I've always thought that Apple is missing the boat by:


     



    1. not opening Siri to developers


    2. not allowing apps or notifications to automatically launch other apps


    3. not allowing apps to share documents among apps


     


    With some rigorous defined protocols this should be possible without sacrificing security, performance ((battery usage), etc. It certainly could improve usability.


     


    I suspect the way Apple will go about cutting the cord with cloud servers is:


     



    1. use the cloud to gather enough voice data from the generalized population


    2. implement cloud algorithms in a custom chip on the iDevice


    3. use the cloud to gather data on a specific customer (you)


    4. train Siri to understand your voice


    5. update the data used by the iDevice chip to understand your voice


    6. handle a large percentage of tasks on the iDevice, with no cloud involvement


    7. have the cloud accessible to handle exceptions that Siri can't handle locally


    8. update the data for the iDevice chip as needed (incorporate above exceptions)

  • Reply 13 of 37


    I just don't know about all this Nina stuff on the iPhone...


    Is Nina a new Siri competitor?  If so, it won't make it through the App certification process.  It would confuse users since Siri can already do most of this stuff already.


     


    Apple will most likely use bio security methods such as finger print or retina scan instead of voice.


    Apple just purchased AuthenTec.  


     


    Time will tell.

  • Reply 14 of 37
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    This should be a boon for developers.


     


    I've always thought that Apple is missing the boat by:


     



    1. not opening Siri to developers


    2. not allowing apps or notifications to automatically launch other apps


    3. not allowing apps to share documents among apps


     


    With some rigorous defined protocols this should be possible without sacrificing security, performance ((battery usage), etc. It certainly could improve usability.


     


    I suspect the way Apple will go about cutting the cord with cloud servers is:


     



    1. use the cloud to gather enough voice data from the generalized population


    2. implement cloud algorithms in a custom chip on the iDevice


    3. use the cloud to gather data on a specific customer (you)


    4. train Siri to understand your voice


    5. update the data used by the iDevice chip to understand your voice


    6. handle a large percentage of tasks on the iDevice, with no cloud involvement


    7. have the cloud accessible to handle exceptions that Siri can't handle locally



    Or buy Eliza since Nuance is far too expensive.


     


    I wonder where the Nuance datacenter is and how many solar panels they employ?

  • Reply 15 of 37
    If your voice is your password, what happens when you get a cold, or worse, laryngitis?
  • Reply 16 of 37
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    ewtheckman wrote: »
    If your voice is your password, what happens when you get a cold, or worse, laryngitis?

    Or in the morning when you wake up. Or if someone records your voice. Or there is background noise. Biometrics make for cool sci-fi but not for good consumer tech.
  • Reply 17 of 37
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    My prediction: Rich Little would own the world once this goes into full deployment.

    Hmm I wonder how many readers have to google Rich's name just to make sence of my post...
  • Reply 18 of 37
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    The USAA, a leading financial services provider that serves members of the U.S. military, veterans and their families, will be the first to adopt the virtual assistant for use within its popular mobile app beginning with a pilot planned for release sometime this month. It will be followed by a formal launch to all USAA members early next year.

    While I'm all for innovation, I'm not sure I'd be happy with being the first to jump into using voice recognition for authentication. Until there's a great deal of experience, it just sounds too risky for me to want to put my money at risk.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    While I'm all for innovation, I'm not sure I'd be happy with being the first to jump into using voice recognition for authentication. Until there's a great deal of experience, it just sounds too risky for me to want to put my money at risk.


    It doesn't seem that risky really. I believe there would be several layers of authentication. One, it is your phone and the server knows the phone and your voice and if it doesn't authenticate after let's say three tries it goes into verification mode requiring key entry pin number. If someone stole your phone it would be no more of a risk than if they stole your wallet. Furthermore your money is insured against theft from the bank just the way your credit card is. It is appalling how lax grocery stores are about credit cards though. If you stole someone's card, they never ask for a photo ID at the grocery store and you could run up a very high tab in a short period of time.

  • Reply 20 of 37


    iPhone, recognize Picard, Jean-Luc. Alpha 2 clearance.

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